Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I visit Whitehorse, up in the Yukon, once in a while when I am tired of big-city life.  I'm not crazy, though—I only ever visit in the summer.  It is a really neat place where the sun stays out 22 hours a day in July.  It is always fun to wake up at 4:00 am to bright blue sky and wonder if there has been a nuclear holocaust.  Nope—just summer.

Anyway, I visited my mum years ago and we were sitting around in the living room, drinking rum and rye, like card-carrying Canadians in the summer.  My mum said "hey do you want to watch a movie!"  She had been pushing this movie, called Fight Club, for about three years.  Why would I want to watch a movie about people punching each other?  It sounded so stupid.  After much, much nagging and complaining (like three minutes' worth), I finally said FINE—I would give it a few minutes and if it was terrible, I would take my drink out onto the patio and watch ice cubes melt in the 6-degree summer weather.  (It was technically above freezing). 

Anyway, mum pops in this DVD of Fight Club and within 20 minutes I am loving life.  It was (and is) a great film.  I loved it.  I sincerely apologized to my mum for ever doubting her.  (I also felt bad about throwing my sister through the coffee table when I was eight and running into my mum's face when I was a kid, shattering one of her teeth.  It was an afternoon of many drinks.)

Fast forward to two years ago: I am back in the Yukon.  Mum and I are sitting around drinking.  She says, "hey do you want to watch Sherlock?  It's a new version on BBC".  Yawn.  I would rather literally stare at the wall.  Who wants to watch a show about 1800s detective and his bumbling sidekick?  I laughed right in her face but it was OK because I was her son, I can get away with it.  She has to love me—it's the law!

Near the end of the vacation, I finally said fine and mum fired up the old PVR.  Within the first 20 minutes I was totally hooked.  I was loving life.  Sherlock is a modern-day, fast-paced, action-packed, intelligently-written show by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, who also work on the highly-praised Dr. Who show.  I watched two of the episodes and I was blown away—they are 90-minute movies with high production values, and some of the best writing I have ever seen. 

I got back home to the big city and tried for two months to convince my girlfriend to watch Sherlock.  "I'm telling you, it is really good!" I pleaded, my voice getting whiny and high-pitched.  It finally worked.  One night, we fired up the old Netflix.  Stacey glanced away at one moment and I shrieked "give it twenty minutes!"  It turned out that she was making sure the cat didn't light itself on fire with a nearby candle, but I am glad that I got her attention.  Within 20 minutes, we were both hooked.  

One of the reasons I didn't like the 1980s TV Sherlock that has been on in the past is that Sherlock's assistant, Dr. Watson, was often portrayed as an idiot who could barely tie his shoes.  Not in this series.  Dr. John Watson is brilliantly played by Martin Freeman, who most people will recognize at the Hobbit and Tim from The Office.  Watson is an army veteran and extremely loyal, intelligent and has some great comedic lines (without looking like a complete dummy).  Sherlock Holmes is portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, who wins for the most British-sounding name in history (sorry, Professor Cockney Pennyfarthing Bollocks the Third).  Cumberbatch is very unlikable (a "high-functioning sociopath") which makes the character all the much more fun to watch.  Rude, intelligent and anti-social—yikes maybe I shouldn't be so excited that I can relate. 

For some reason, British shows only run for a few episodes.  There are three episodes in "series 1" (available on Netflix) and three episodes in "series 2" (also available on Netflix).  I highly-recommend this series—action, comedy, good chills and great writing.  Plus you get to see some remarkable shots of modern-day London.  If you have ever been there,  you can scream "Agghh!!  We've been to that tube station!" as Sherlock tries to solve a mystery.   

Nice work mum.  Although I still don't like the taste of rye, you do have good taste in movies and TV shows.